news 13 May 13

Croatia Commemorates WWII Jasenovac Camp Victims

Croatian President Ivo Josipovic told a commemoration of the 68th anniversary of a prisoner rebellion at the Jasenovac concentration camp that fascism’s victims must never be forgotten.

Boris Pavelic
BIRN
Zagreb

“The ideology of hate and holocaust must never be revived. We can be proud of anti-fascism and those who opposed these crimes,” Josipovic said at the commemoration at the Jasenovac memorial on Sunday, which was attended by camp survivors, families of the victims and top state officials.

The Jasenovac camp was one of the cruellest camps in occupied Europe, run by Croatia’s fascist Ustasha regime.

According to a list of the victims compiled by the Jasenovac memorial’s historians, 83,301 people was killed in the camp, among them more than 20,000 women and more than 20,000 children under 14 years old.

Mostly Serbs, but also Jews, Roma and anti-fascists were among the victims.

On April 22, 1945, as the war neared its end, hundreds of prisoners staged a revolt and attempted to break out. Most were killed and only 107 survived.

The history of the camp is still burdened with controversy.

Official history in the former Yugoslavia claimed that 700,000 people were killed in the camp but the memorial’s historians have identified only 83,301 victims.

After WWII, a memorial was built at the camp site, with a famous monument called ‘Stone Flower’ constructed by Belgrade architect Bogdan Bogdanovic.

But after the war in the former Yugoslavia, the memorial was split into two parts, one of which is in Croatia, on the left side of the border which follows the Sava river, and other in Bosnia’s Serb-dominated Republika Srpska entity on the right bank of the Sava.

Now a plaque showing the names of 83,301 victims can be seen on the Croatian side, while the memorial on the Bosnian side continues to say that 700,000 people were killed.

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